Michael Phelps cruises into trials

AUSTIN, Texas -- Michael Phelps won the 400-meter individual medley, and Allison Schmitt swam the fastest time ever in America in the 200-meter freestyle Saturday at the Austin Elite.

Schmitt, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, set a U.S. Open and pool record when she finished the race in 1:55.04. She was just .08 short of her own American record set in Rome in 2009. It was the second fastest time in the world this year and came in a race against Olympic hopeful Missy Franklin, who was second in 1:57.91.

"I feel like I have been on schedule this year, but there's no way I expected to swim this fast at this meet," Schmitt said. "I felt good coming in here, and I just gave it all I had. After this race, I know there's a little more in the tank."

Phelps finished in 4:15.88, almost a second ahead of Chase Kalisz, his North Baltimore Aquatics teammate. Kalisz swam faster than Phelps in both legs of the butterfly.

"We have a plan in place, and we will be ready," said Bob Bowman, Phelps' longtime coach.

Franklin, the world-record holder in the 200-meter backstroke (on a short course) and the American-record holder in the 200-meter backstroke (long course), won for the first time in four events, taking the 200-meter backstroke in 2:08.74, more than three seconds slower than her U.S. mark.

"I am a little tired from the four events, but I am happy to get the win and continue to taper and improve," Franklin said.

The meet is conducted by the University of Texas aquatic program as an alternative to the season's final Grand Prix event in Santa Clara, Calif. It is the last competition for Schmitt, Franklin and Phelps before the Olympic trials in Omaha, Neb., which begin June 25.

Phelps, Schmitt and Franklin entered this weekend's meet as the top three point scorers in USA Swimming's Grand Prix series.